I have a friend (and professional neighbor) who will likely die of cancer within the next 3-4 months. While she went through initial treatment of mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and ended up in remission. Unfortunately, the cancer reappeared 8 months later. We concluded that the oncologist was not aggressive enough in the first go round, and so did she. One can't turn back the clock. So, she resumed a daily medication that was like "mild chemo at home" (no side effects) for about 4-5 months. Afterward, another PET scan found more spots on her bones, spots on her liver and some lesions in her brain. She completed the radiation therapy for the brain, but has eschewed the recommended chemotherapy and has opted for naturopathy. Now, about 3 months later, the doctor looked at recent results of a blood test for the liver and advised her to make her final arrangements.
This is an intelligent woman who I knew did not want to repeat chemotherapy treatments because of how incredibly sick she was during the first round. She didn't want to be that sick again. Not having gone through chemotherapy, I can understand how she may not want to endure that again. However, what I cannot understand is this turn to naturopathy. The woman who provides the naturopathy (the exact circumstances of which I do not know) has told her that she has had success with many cases. Of course, I would want hard numbers. While we all hope this ends up being one of those amazing (miraculous) stories of people who are mysteriously, but suddenly, healed of cancer and live another 30 years, rational thinking and medical statistics show that she is more likely to be struck by lightning.
Now, to interject something religious here, this woman is a Christian, but a very liberal one, and attends a Baptist church that, itself, is quite liberal. Churches in this particular area are not at all fundamentalist as the clientele, if you will, are quite educated, upper income people, very often working in the fields of science. My friend knows I'm an atheist.
Here is my question? Why would somebody who is fairly smart and quite modern, regardless of her religious affiliation, who has decided that she would just rather go instead of going through chemotherapy (which I understand) ... why would someone like her engage in naturopathy which probably can't cure anything except by happenstance? Why not simply say, I do not wish to endure chemotherapy again, and I will let my cancer run its course? Why bother engaging in something that she really does know won't work? Honestly, I think there would be more power in her prayers than sucking down capsules filled with dry Asian plants (or whatever it is she is doing). In other words, why is she being dishonest? I do not know of a single person around her that would think she was being irreligious in any way if she just let her illness run its course. It's just self-delusion.
Conversely, I have an employee who was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer (luckily, they caught it early) and upon diagnosis normally the patient dies within 3-6 months. However, an expert in the field caught her case and put her through some pretty aggressive chemo and surgery, and she is about to go through more rounds of chemo. But even after her first PET scan before the first series of chemo treatments were completed, they couldn't find a sign of cancer. She has continued on with the plan and doesn't want to miss doing anything. After finding that her blood tests and an additional PET scan show no signs of cancer, they have shortened her second round of chemo treatments (which have not yet begun) from 9 to 3. Of course, she is aware and is an acquaintance of the other person I have written about above. When she (person 2) found that the other (person 1) was going through naturopathy instead, she just glared at me and then asked, "Why is she being so stupid?."
The first person mentioned above has 3 children, two of which haven't graduated high school yet, and 2 step-children (older). The second person has grown children and grandchildren. She's older with, essentially, less to lose, yet she is fighting more. I have stated here often that I think we weren't brought into this world of our own will so we should have a right to check out whenever we like (assuming that we are of sound mind), but I do not understand this turn to naturopathy with some expectation that it will work. I just don't get it.